Snow and Fun Winter

Snow and fun winter landscapes are quite a normal sequence of terms for this skiier. Winter is fun! We are a household of ski and snowboard bums that love that white stuff. We have fun!

winter fencepost
Winter fencepost, done in Stan Miller’s workshop at Spokane Art Supply in Spokane Wa. 

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to attend a weekend workshop with Stan Miller. He is a phenomenal master painter, who I have had the privilege of knowing over the years. A wonderful artist and person. The subject was winter water, skies, and snow in watercolor. As always, having an opportunity to spend some time with a small group learning from a “master” really brings things up a notch in a painter’s world. Above, is an unfinished exercise from the workshop. Unfinished, but still quite an inspiration to me.

Snow is something I have always loved. Unfortunately, it is a subject that has simply baffled me whenever I try to paint it. Fortunately, Stan Miller is an amazing teacher and has been able to open up a whole new world for me with what he showed during that weekend workshop at Spokane Art Supply . With this fencepost painting, I was able to get “what I see” in a snow scene… down on the paper. Success is such an inspiration.

A person who paints a 1,000 paintings stands a better chance of producing more great masterpieces…

It is about time, I record the fun and the gorgeous sights we see all winter long. This artist is on a mission! I will make a real effort to render some of the winter wonderland fun in my art from now on. You may have to endure through fiasco’s until I achieve this goal but I will achieve it if I don’t give up.

Mural Distraction

Screaming Distractions

I began painting both Wall A & B and discover a horrible mural distraction that I will need to camouflage. WALL “A” is 20’ x 10’ (200 sq ft). WALL “B” is 40’-0” wide by 10’-0” high (400 sq ft).

corner wall A&B background

wall B conduit

Can you guess what it is? Stepping back I happen to notice an item that screams loudly at me.

Bright, shiny aluminum electrical conduit lines reach across the sky. Those conduits are horribly distracting. Luckily, I have learned ways to camouflage un-moveable tyrants like these, when they interfere.

The person who taught me to paint houses and walls was my Dad the contractor. His rule was to paint every single surface. Voices from the past. I remember having to paint the bottom and top of shelves in any cupboard and all sides of every door or drawer. Why did I have to paint something I wouldn’t be seeing? Well, there was no arguing with him. Now, painting every surface is a rule that I adhere to.


I backtrack and camouflage paint all the conduit and wire surfaces in the same colors as the mural it is traveling over. I didn’t fix anything I just hid it. The improvement to the entire presentation is amazing. Take a look at the before and after shots to see the difference.

You can see the conduit on the left side of the column that is painted gray and then black where it crosses the column. When I look at that side my eyes are not so distracted.

wall B conduit painted

The wire and conduit on the right side of the column are not yet painted and are very distracting. So, I will be painting these wire surfaces from here on as I finish the mural.

Compare these two images below. Simply painting the conduit lines black as they are traveling along the black beam makes them seem to disappear.

wall A background with trees
wall A conduit Painted

Be sure to check this mural out when you visit the 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah WA this winter and let them know what you think about their improvements!

What a perfect example of how un-anticipated additional costs and time occur on any job site.

Painting the First Wall

Initial Wall

background mountains
background mountains

Painting the first wall of a mural is where I tend to experiment with colors and shapes the most. We want the mountains fading as they go off into the distance brighter trees in the foreground, so, I am using muted colors that overlap to start achieving a shortened depth of field. Consequently, you will see on the far left that I am experimenting with a little snow cap on the hill.

Snow Caps

snowcap mountains
snowcap mountains

Along with the white cap mountain tops, I work my way to the right trying clouds above the hilltop to see what it looks like. The jury is still out about whether this is the best sky treatment for this room scenery.


trees foreground
trees foreground

The next step is the tree layout. With a limited pallet, I am staying real gray and using only quick and very essential shapes right now. The sample I was given to work with had this big tree up front, but I am not in love with it right now. That may need to change before the job is over.

Next Wall

background mountains next wall
background mountains next wall

I have made the turn around the corner and started with the snow-capped mountain range on the longer wall. It is a little tricky to keep the lines right when avoiding things like a column or doorway like this wall has, but it can be done. Sometimes I use a drawn chalk line across the door to the other side so I can keep the lines straight. The resort is getting ready to open its doors around Thanksgiving this year. Everyone is praying for snow. You can check out 49 Degrees North Ski Resort at their website. All in all, things are progressing at a good pace and I am happy.

First Day Back Skiing

First Day Back Skiing… in three years! YAHOOOOOO!

3 years ago, I had open-heart surgery so skiing was put on hold for quite a while. Yesterday we went skiing and I am feeling so glad to be alive. Life is SO GOOD! When you find something that makes you smile just thinking about it – go for it YEAH!

beginning oil painting of 49 degree North mountaintop 49NpanoG4306Thought you might like to see a favorite view I painted from time spent on the hill, here is a shot of the painting just started and then another of it finished. See more about a great mountain at, 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington.

Bison Let it Snow

Bison Let it Snow matches our weather today, I thought a watercolor of snow would be appropriate to post. Yellowstone in the winter is the most amazing vacation memory I have had with Pete. Really something worth doing. These Bison were walking so close to us I could not get a whole one in a picture frame.

Bison walking in the snow.